The rise of predictive artificial intelligence and chatbots such as OpenAI Inc.’s ChatGPT has been well-documented, but not so well-documented is a concurrent rise in scams trying to take advantage of the hype in the sector.
A new report from researchers at S.C. Bitdefender SRL today shines some light on the rise of highly sophisticated investment scams and how they’re trying to use the excitement around ChatGPT to suck in potential victims.
The “AI-powered” fraudulent campaigns typically begin with unsolicited emails that have subject lines such as “ChatGPT: New AI bot has everyone going crazy about it” and “New ChatGPTchatbot is make [sic] everyone crazy now – but it’ll very soon be as mundane a tool as Google.” The emails typically include fake OpenAI and ChatGPT graphics (image above) to make them appear to be legitimate emails.
Upon accessing the link in the email, users are directed to a copycat version of ChatGPT, luring them with financial opportunities that pay up to $10,000 per month “on the unique ChatGPT platform.” The fake platform’s “chatbot” begins with a short introduction to its role in analyzing financial markets that can allow anyone to become a successful investor in global stocks.
The researchers agreed to play along with the fake ChatGPT site and allowed the “automatic robot created by Elon Musk” to help them get rich. The chatbot then asked a series of financial questions, such as current income, before prompting the researchers to enter an email address. After some further questions, the bot claimed that the researchers could make an estimated $420 a day or even more before asking for further details to create a “personal assistant” to activate a WhatsApp account dedicated to earnings.
At this point, it seems like typical data theft — persuading victims to hand over personal information for further criminal use. But then it took a twist. Some 10 minutes after the bot said that someone from their company would contact the researchers, someone did. The representative provided more information over the phone on how the person could make money by investing in “crypto, oil and international stock.”
Eventually, the scam gets to the point where the person on the phone asks the victim to transfer €250 ($266). After giving a fake credit card number, the experiment stopped because no payment was made.
“Scammers using new viral internet tools or trends to defraud users is nothing new,” the researchers said. “If you’re looking to test out the official ChatGPT and its AI-powered text-generating abilities, do so only using the official website.”
The researchers add that people should never follow links they receive from unsolicited correspondence. All internet users should be especially wary of investment ploys delivered allegedly on behalf of ChatGPT, since they’re all scams.